'It can give us the boost we need' - Boyd and Saints players look forward to fans' return

The Saints players and coaches believe the return of fans to Franklin's Gardens can give them the boost they need to end their losing streak this evening.

By Tom Vickers
Friday, 11th December 2020, 7:00 am
Saints fans will finally be back at Franklin's Gardens this evening
Saints fans will finally be back at Franklin's Gardens this evening

Following a ballot, 2,000 season ticket holders have been handed the chance to watch the black, green and gold take on Bordeaux- in the big Champions Cup opener.

Saints, who have not played in front of fans at the Gardens since February due to the Covid-19 pandemic, go into the game having lost their past 10 matches in all competitions.

And they are desperately hoping that their supporters can roar them to a long-awaited win against last season's Top 14 table-toppers.

"It's hugely exciting," said Saints scrum-half Alex Mitchell.

"Playing at Franklin's Gardens without fans is a different experience because they make the game.

"It's been a frustrating time without them and it's quite echoey on the pitch without them so hopefully that will change and give us the boost we need."

Nick Auterac, a summer arrival from Harlequins, has yet to experience running out in front of Gardens fans as a Saints player.

And the former Harlequins prop said: "One of the draws of coming to Saints was playing in front of home crowds at Franklin's Gardens.

"I've played here before and it's an awesome buzz to play here so to have been held back from that means it's something I've really been looking forward to.

"It's only a couple of thousand but it's a start and we're looking forward to getting fans back in, as I'm sure they are.

"It's going to be really quite good to see them back and have them here supporting us."

And Saints boss Chris Boyd said: “We've certainly been missing the fans.

“Whether us missing them is responsible for the lack of outcome will be a contributing factor but it's not the biggest factor I wouldn't think.

“But we certainly value our supporters dearly and really love playing at the Gardens when they're here.

“It has been difficult for us but it's been difficult for other people and they've adapted better.

“We're certainly delighted to think we'll be playing Bordeaux with a small sprinkling of our spectators.

“The players are looking forward to that.”